AIM plans for future of Bahamas Billfish Championship

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Al Behrendt speaks at a press conference announcing Active Interest Media’s acquisition of the Bahamas Billfish Championship and the Dania Beach (Fla.) Marine Flea Market. Others (from left) are Jennifer Dudas, Behrendt’s daughter and the producer of the tournament series and the flea market; Anglers Journal editor-in-chief William Sisson; AIM Marine Group group publisher Gary De Sanctis; and AIM chairman and CEO Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III.

Al Behrendt speaks at a press conference announcing Active Interest Media’s acquisition of the Bahamas Billfish Championship and the Dania Beach (Fla.) Marine Flea Market. Others (from left) are Jennifer Dudas, Behrendt’s daughter and the producer of the tournament series and the flea market; Anglers Journal editor-in-chief William Sisson; AIM Marine Group group publisher Gary De Sanctis; and AIM chairman and CEO Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III. Credit: Mark Fusco

MIAMI — Although the deal was announced on the eve of the Miami boat shows, Active Interest Media hosted a formal news conference last Friday at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach on its acquisition of the Bahamas Billfish Championship.

The acquisition also includes the Dania Beach (Fla.) Marine Flea Market. Terms were not disclosed.

“We are very excited to expand AIM and the Marine Group’s event portfolio to include the BBC,” said Andrew Clurman, president and chief operating officer of AIM, which owns Soundings Trade Only. “We are constantly looking for great ways to engage our audience and motivate them to participate in our sport.”

The Bahamas Billfish Championship, founded in 1973, is a series of four tournaments that are held from April through June.

Al Behrendt took over production of the BBC in 1981. Last year, Behrendt retired after a long run at the helm and his daughter, Jennifer Dudas, assumed command. Dudas will remain on as producer of the tournament series and the marine flea market.

“The fact that we have the AIM Marine Group brands behind us will offer sponsors and participants a more valuable and exciting experience,” Dudas said.

The BBC and the Dania Beach Marine Flea Market will continue to grow with AIM’s backing, she added.

The family members were joined by AIM chairman and CEO Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III; Gary De Sanctis, group publisher for the AIM Marine Group; and Anglers Journal editor-in-chief William Sisson at a dockside venue at the Yacht & Brokerage Show.

Fittingly, the speakers were flanked by a six-pack of custom rods that were designed and handpainted by Justin Neirenburg of Connley Fishing. Each rod had the AIM Marine Group logo on it. Neirenburg and Connley Fishing owner Bryan Connley created the custom rods for promotional use.

The 2015 dates for the BBC are: the Guana Cay Championship, April 22-25; the Green Turtle Cay Championship, May 6-9; the Treasure Cay Championship, May 27-30; and the Boat Harbour Championship, June 10-13.

Behrendt founded the Dania Beach Marine Flea Market in 1979 and grew the event into the largest marine flea market in the world. Corporate vendors and private individuals sell used boats, fishing tackle, marine equipment, diving gear, new and used scuba gear, marine artwork, marine electronics, outboard motors and everything boat-related.

The event returns March 12-15 to Hallandale Beach, Fla.

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